Pathogenicity and non-opportunistic character of Blastocystis spp.: a hospital-based survey in Central Cameroon
Introduction: Blastocystis spp. is a protist found in humans. Although usually the most frequent protozoa found in stool samples of both symptomatic and healthy subjects, its pathogenic or rather opportunistic role is yet to be clearly elucidated. To attempt to fill this gap, a cross-sectional study was conducted to compare the frequency of Blastocystis spp. in HIV positive (HIV+) versus HIV negative (HIV-) individuals in four health facilities of the Center Region of Cameroon.
Methodology: Stool samples were collected from 283 HIV positive and 245 HIV negative subjects and analyzed using direct diagnostic tests.
Results: A total of 46 (8.7%) individuals were found infected with Blastocystis spp., including 6.7% HIV positive and 11.0% HIV negative. This species was more frequent in urban and semi-urban areas than in rural areas, but evenly distributed among genders and age groups as well as among all sectors of activity. The prevalence of Blastocystis spp. (11.3%) was higher in HIV+ patients with a CD4 count ≥ 500 cells / mm3, but no significant difference was found among HIV clinical stages. Likewise prevalence, the mean number of cysts per gram of stool was similar between HIV positive and HIV negative individuals. People infected with Blastocystis spp. showed diverse clinical signs, but only flatulence was significantly more prevalent. The frequencies of these clinical signs were not related to HIV status.
Conclusion: No clear relationship links the infection with Blastocystis spp. to HIV, although its presence was associated with digestive disorder, suggesting that this parasite might not be opportunist.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).